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Builds Monty's Sleeping Quarters - Wespe Models Second Caravan

Smeggers

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Monty’s Bedroom Caravan is Italian-built and mounted on a Lancia Chassis and was captured by Montgomery’s 8th Army from Field-Marshal Giovanni Messe, Commander of the 1st Italian Army, during the final stages of the North African campaign in May 1943. Messe said that it had also been used by Rommel, and Montgomery – promoted to General after the Battle of El Alamein – would use this caravan as his bedroom for the remainder of the war.
Due to the unreliability of the Lancia chassis, the vehicle was despatched to Central Workshops in Cairo, where the caravan was removed from the chassis and attached to a Mack NR-4 4X6 Chassis. Like it's predecessors, the NR-4 had a 6 Gallon (30L) Thermos water tank fitted over the cab roof complete with a heat shield furnished by the American Coach & Body Co.
The British contract number for the NR-4 was S/M2279, with the following serial numbers allocated 1482D-1592D and 1643D-1731D. These trucks were originally intended as carriers for the M3 Light Tank (Stuart) and were often referred to as 13 tonners.


The Model

In true Wespe Models style, this is a real no frills kit. Made in cream resin and containing around180 pieces, this model is a carrier for what can be done. The tyres for instance, are little more than six strangely shaped tubes with little or no detail. They'll get binned with suitable replacements being sought! I have a well-known gripe with resin model manufacturers, their instructions are only guildlines. Check out the suspension in the picture above, with those in the instructions below:
IMG_20200807_175811.jpg

Bit of an oops moment there! Also, on the above picture, there is a silencer for the two parts of the exhaust system to fit into. This piece has no number and in fact did not exist within the kit! The joys of modelling cheap Eastern-European kits!
Most of the parts are self explanatory and go together well. There are one of two air holes which need filling and some of the smaller parts need some cleaning up. Also, those same small pieces are quite brittle and need some delicate handling. Pay attention to how the rear suspension is assembled, it requires some fiddling and settling but looks good when assembled.To assemble the drive shaft between the twin axles, I found it easier to cut 5mm from the ends of both parts number 21 and then slide them into either end of a small tube. This gave a certain flexibility when putting the axles in situ. A small spot of superglue after assembly keeps the drive shaft in place.
This is how far I've got so far, the cab interior has been hand-primed ready for detailing. The same has been done to the dashboard. I've located a set of Mack dash decals and will add these tonight, once I've sorted the cab interior.
IMG_20200807_175937.jpg
IMG_20200807_175956.jpg

So after a couple of disastrous days, I'm quite happy to be getting back into things with a fairly simple build. Today was spent sourcing the correct colour for the wooden panelling. Not an easy task when you only have one photo to compare colours to. Anyway, over to you guys.

Smeggers out
 

Smeggers

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After viewing one of two photographs of the caravan interior taken at IWM Duxford, I discovered that the bed was actually mounted over a dark four-drawer unit.
mid_IWM_SITE_DUX_002497.jpg

This has been replicated with plasticard and will be painted to match the interior. I've also discovered that the unit that is meant to sit under the window closest to the bed is way too large! Using the photos for reference, I've cut, filed and sanded the resin block to the correct sized shape. There are two photos on this unit, one is possibly The Italian Field Marshall, Giovanni Messe, the other is not easy to see.
IWMLand2WWInvasionMontCar1d.jpg

Any observations would be gratefully accepted. The sleeper caravan doesn't appear to have any curtains, unlike the office version.

I am trying to discover what sort of material covered the bathroom entry.
While on the subject of the bathroom; I've nicked the cutthroat razor and shaving brush from the ESCI British Camp Rest Area (5012) and these will appear on the shelf above the wash-basin together with a glass and toothbrush.I
Back to the bed. The kit-provided version is ok in a rough way but requires sheets and blankets. I would imagine that Monty's batman would have kept the "Guv'nor's" bedroom in something akin to an immaculate turnout, especially when you consider it was used by both King George VI and Winston Churchill, happily, not at the same time though. Anyhow, brevity aside, bedding was made using the white-glue and tissue paper method and attached in correct military fashion in a manner befitting an officer of Monty's rank.
More later.

Smeggers out
 
After viewing one of two photographs of the caravan interior taken at IWM Duxford, I discovered that the bed was actually mounted over a dark four-drawer unit.
View attachment 496015
This has been replicated with plasticard and will be painted to match the interior. I've also discovered that the unit that is meant to sit under the window closest to the bed is way too large! Using the photos for reference, I've cut, filed and sanded the resin block to the correct sized shape. There are two photos on this unit, one is possibly The Italian Field Marshall, Giovanni Messe, the other is not easy to see.
View attachment 496016
Any observations would be gratefully accepted. The sleeper caravan doesn't appear to have any curtains, unlike the office version.

I am trying to discover what sort of material covered the bathroom entry.
While on the subject of the bathroom; I've nicked the cutthroat razor and shaving brush from the ESCI British Camp Rest Area (5012) and these will appear on the shelf above the wash-basin together with a glass and toothbrush.I
Back to the bed. The kit-provided version is ok in a rough way but requires sheets and blankets. I would imagine that Monty's batman would have kept the "Guv'nor's" bedroom in something akin to an immaculate turnout, especially when you consider it was used by both King George VI and Winston Churchill, happily, not at the same time though. Anyhow, brevity aside, bedding was made using the white-glue and tissue paper method and attached in correct military fashion in a manner befitting an officer of Monty's rank.
More later.

Smeggers out
Your feminist side coming out mate? All this talk of furnishings, sheets, blankets.
Worrying....
 

Smeggers

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This evening was spent panelling out the caravan and settling some of the smaller details. My apologies for the standard of photography, here is the afore-mentioned cutthroat razor and shaving brush....
IMG_20200810_222950.jpg

The background to the photograph is the same as I have used for the caravan panelling. That, combined with Black trim presents a suitably dark interior and is a match for the original at Duxford.
 

Smeggers

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Bit of work done on the the caravan interior this evening. A mixture of burnt umber and woodgrain were used as the top coat for the furniture. This adequately matches the dark, varnished walnut wood of the original.
IMG_20200813_215433.jpg

All references pictures I've seen show the floor as being a light coloured wood, so again this was replicated on the model using self-adhesive woodgrain effect vinyl from The Range (£3.99 for 15 x 8" x 4" sheets, ranging from white to dark wood) . The bathroom was finished using the same paint mixture. I added a towel rail under the shelf and placed the razor, shaving brush, glass and toothbrush on the shelf.
IMG_20200813_215421.jpg

A tray was placed on the chest by the door with water carafe and glass from MiniArt's Home Crockery and Glass Set #35559. A Bible has been constructed out of plasticard, painted with semi-gloss black and then a cross hand-painted on the front. This was placed on the bedside table. The kit supplied bed was sprayed with primer and then give two costs of Matt white. Once dry, a subtle dry brushing and wash "lifted the pillow". The blankets and sheets were made from micro-sheet metal for The Range (five sheets each of brass, copper and steel for £3.99)for
IMG_20200813_215445_burst_01.jpg

I feel it's coming along well now and I've even got some rugs for the floor! I think an armchair would have been a good idea but Monty seemed to eschew his home comforts. Anyway, that will do for now, I'll do a bit more tomorrow.

Smeggers out.
 

Smeggers

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Did it not have a cludgy? Excellent details
No, which seems surprising. There was a chemical karzi in the office caravan. Still, I suppose if you got to the exalted rank of FM, no fecking RSM is going to rip you a new one for sticking your arse out and crapping on the countryside!
 

Smeggers

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Been a few days due to The Leader of the Opposition (aka Mrs Smeg) requiring my services in the good weather as gardener/handyman. With it pissing down all day today, it was time to get more of Monty's caravan done.
I started tonight fitting the POL holders under the caravan body. The ones supplied are a bit cack, so I binned them and made my own using plastic strip and brass wire. Look a lot more realistic!
All pictures I've seen of the Mack, show a lighter, almost Lovat Green rather than the bog-standard Olive Drab. The nearest I found to this is Vallejo 70.924 Russian Uniform WWII. I've hand painted the lower half of the caravan, the cab and the chassis in this colour. The water tank on the cab roof is shown on the box art as being a sort of coppery-brown. I have, however, seen several pictures with the tank painted almost black-green. I've decided my version will have the dark green version and chose Vallejo 70.896, German Camouflage Extra Dark Green.
IMG_20200818_203310.jpg

The two photos show the caravan body dry-fitted to the chassis. The cab has been painted inside and out and has the radiator screen and front bumper fitted. The spare wheel carrier is also dry-fitted because I am still waiting on my replacement wheels. They're due Thursday but I won't hold me breath.
I've decided to frame the Windows as shown in most photos. I've got a good supply of 2mm right-angle which will be ideal for the job. I am going to make these up with the "glass" in situ so they fit a bit like double-glazing units. Doing them this way will also make it easier to paint them before installation.
IMG_20200818_203344.jpg

The window near the bed has a hand-painted frame on it, which looks rubbish. I'm ashamed of it and will rectify it using the method described above.
I did think of sourcing the decals for both caravans, but there aren't many of them about. No worries, I have the technology at home to make my own and, at the end of the day, they won't cost owt! There were also a few unofficial decals added by the drivers and I will also try to replicate these.
As you can see from the above photo, I've chopped out the moulded on door. This will be replaced by a home made version complete with blind, door handles and holdfast. I already have some workable brass hinges of the right size and type. I may have a go at using them if me arthritic fingers will let me.
Anyway, that's all for tonight.

Smeggers out
 
All references pictures I've seen show the floor as being a light coloured wood, so again this was replicated on the model using self-adhesive woodgrain effect vinyl from The Range
Well, I confess to being somewhat disappointed. Did you not consider buying wooden lolly sticks and cutting them to length and width for an authentic floorboards appearance? A coat of beeswax to obtain a credible patina, buffed up to a high gloss with a scratch-built bumper.

I realise that you're probably looking for encouragement so I'll reward you with a "Well done so far".



Considering.
 

Smeggers

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Well, I confess to being somewhat disappointed. Did you not consider buying wooden lolly sticks and cutting them to length and width for an authentic floorboards appearance? A coat of beeswax to obtain a credible patina, buffed up to a high gloss with a scratch-built bumper.

I realise that you're probably looking for encouragement so I'll reward you with a "Well done so far".



Considering.
If you had noticed a previous thread of mine, entitled "Why you shouldn't use lolly sticks as faux floorboards" you would understand why this method was not chosen. I will, however, reiterate the main reason; Wooden lolly sticks are made from beech wood, which is fine for catering needs but as a fake floorboard, tends to warp and twist. The ideal timber of choice, properly seasoned and quarter-sawn would be Deal. This is not available in small quantities.
As regarding polishing; beeswax is fine for most linoleum type floors, but does not carry the shine capabilities of carnuba wax, which is a better treatment for wood! A bumper would be easy enough to make in scale but wouldn't have the same thrust co-efficient of a squaddie if said squaddie was made of plastic or resin. There is also a question of scaled weight. To achieve a decent scaled down weight, the bumper would need to weigh approximately 4.73 ounces, making it impossible to be carried on a plastic or resin body!
Thank you for your feedback, I hope I have offered a solution or indeed an answer to your question. If you need further information please contact me by carrier pigeon at Lord Lister of Smeg, Smeg Towers, Leyland, Smegshire. SM3G 0FF.
 
I'm interested in results, not excuses.

And get a move on. There's another caravan to make when this one's finished.
 

daz

LE
If you had noticed a previous thread of mine, entitled "Why you shouldn't use lolly sticks as faux floorboards" you would understand why this method was not chosen. I will, however, reiterate the main reason; Wooden lolly sticks are made from beech wood, which is fine for catering needs but as a fake floorboard, tends to warp and twist. The ideal timber of choice, properly seasoned and quarter-sawn would be Deal. This is not available in small quantities.
As regarding polishing; beeswax is fine for most linoleum type floors, but does not carry the shine capabilities of carnuba wax, which is a better treatment for wood! A bumper would be easy enough to make in scale but wouldn't have the same thrust co-efficient of a squaddie if said squaddie was made of plastic or resin. There is also a question of scaled weight. To achieve a decent scaled down weight, the bumper would need to weigh approximately 4.73 ounces, making it impossible to be carried on a plastic or resin body!
Thank you for your feedback, I hope I have offered a solution or indeed an answer to your question. If you need further information please contact me by carrier pigeon at Lord Lister of Smeg, Smeg Towers, Leyland, Smegshire. SM3G 0FF.
Just "employ" a Nac Mac Feegle, job jobbed :)
 

Smeggers

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New tyres arrived today for the Mack. They look remarkably similar to those produced by AFV Club for their AEC Matador (both versions) and the AEC Command vehicle. Anyway, they look a damned site better than the pieces of cack supplied by Wespe Models!
IMG_20200824_220153.jpg

the new tyres - proper tyres in soft vinyl

IMG_20200824_220552.jpg

kit supplied - vastly inferior!


The arrival of the new tyres has brought in a new problem. The spare wheels and spare wheel carrier. The one supplied in the kit is a single moulded unit with the spare tyres moulded on it.
IMG_20200824_220316.jpg

kit supplied spare wheel carrier

I've already made a start on a new spare wheel carrier as you can see from the following photo. This is just a prototype and needs a bit of fettling to get it to look right.
IMG_20200824_220343.jpg

first prototype spare wheel carrier - a bit basic!

I'm using a home-made 9mm beam shaped thus ]. This gives a decent channel for the tyre to sit in. I will, however, have to reduce the height of the walls of the channel to enable the correct pattern of carrier. I will also need to add a couple of pins to secure the two drop down sections plus some form of hinge for the lower end of the drop down sections. What puzzles me is the lack of wheels in the carrier. One would suppose that the tyres would be pre-mounted onto wheels to enable quick wheel changing in the event of a puncture. I read a night revising the tyre situation may be required.
Back soon.

Smeggers out
 
an extra axle on motor home is called a tag axle ?

I have **** all to add apart form this...
 

Smeggers

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One would suppose that the tyres would be pre-mounted onto wheels to enable quick wheel changing in the event of a puncture.
Weight might be a consideration for truck wheels - a complete wheel would be too heavy for a driver alone to lift. Probably easier to split the rim and either repair or replace the inner tube for a simple puncture. Spare tyres for more severe damage.
 

Smeggers

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Weight might be a consideration for truck wheels - a complete wheel would be too heavy for a driver alone to lift. Probably easier to split the rim and either repair or replace the inner tube for a simple puncture. Spare tyres for more severe damage.
Agree with your comments, but every other truck I've made has a spare wheel complete with tyre. Just seems a strange way to go about it. Thinking about it though, it is a Murican truck, therefore, different rules apply.
 
I’ll make it complicated then...!
Does the vehicle come with split rims or spider rims or possibly a combination of both?
It may even have split rims on a eight/ten stud hub!
 

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